Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On The Knitting Needles

A coworker saw me knitting in the lunchroom one day and asked me if I could knit a Christmas stocking.  I can knit socks, and my 'no' was broken that day, so I said sure, probably! 

He's a granddad and his mother had in the past knit stocking for the entire family to hang on the mantle during the holidays, but she has dementia and is no longer able to knit.

He brought in her folder and a picture of all of the stockings she has made, and one actual stocking for me to see.

It's pretty awesome...

My camera has a dead battery so this is a scan, it's folded in half, and the toe is showing up at the left corner.
This is charted knitting, something I hadn't attempted before.  Last night while watching Rizzoli and Isles I thought I'd do a gauge swatch and see whether the letters would look decent.  The child's name is Krewe (pronounced like "crew"), and it's from the family's ancestry somewhere.

Here's my chart:

The stocking is 55 stitches wide, folded in half.  So that means you have to fit the letters into half the number of stitches or 27.5.  Leaving at least one stitch on either side and disregarding the half stitch, that leaves 25 stitches for the letters K-L-E-I-G-H.  (Pronounced 'klee').

The chart for the alphabet showed all letters being four stitches wide.  Four times six is 24 plus five spaces between letters is 29.  Too big.  I had to skinny up some of the letters.  K and G didn't work but the rest of the letters did, so I got it down to the proper size, at least on paper.

Of course if you're a knitting, you know that you read the chart upside down in this case because it's a top down pattern.  Mom had actually written out the stitch by stitch instructions to the other names in her folder.  As in "Row 4:  k1r, k2w, k1r" for knit 1 red, knit 2 white, knit 1 red"... etc.  I can totally see why she would have done this!  Once you get into the snowman pattern, this would come in  so handy!

Then there's the whole knitting with two colors thing.  You have to twist the yarns around each other in order not to leave a hole in the knitting.  And don't pull too tight or the letters bunch up, and not too loose or they stretch out resulting in a different kind of hole.  I had to stop at some of the more exciting spots in the TV show during this part!

My gauge appears to be OK, and my letters are even decent. 

Of course I didn't read the directions completely so I cast on too many stitches (64 instead of 54) so I have overhang, and the name was supposed to be on the OTHER side of the seam, so I'm glad I was using this for gauge instead of it being the real deal, or I'd be ripping it all out and starting over!

All in all, I'm pretty pleased.  Now I just have to buy a skein of blue yarn because of all the colors I have in the stash, that's the one I don't have in sufficient quantity.

Can I knit this before Thanksgiving??  Don't know, but I'm giving it a try!  This much took me most of an hour last night.  No, I'm not showing you the back.  It's not bad, but it's not great.  I hope this gets easier, and I've been watching knitting videos on YouTube.

I've got more projects in the works, a few quilts going, and I cut out some pants for myself last weekend.  It will be a busy summer!

Knit and sew on...